In consideration to the rising issue of sexual assault, prevention efforts have been made in campuses across the country within the last several years. Prevention efforts target three main audiences: potential perpetrators, potential victims, and bystanders. We will break down how prevention efforts are catered to each of these audiences and their rate of success, as outlined in our latest textbook, Sexual Assault 2E, Volume 3: Special Settings and Survivor Populations.
Sexual Assault Perpetration Prevention Efforts
Most of these prevention programs focus on male audiences as they are statistically more likely than women to perpetrate. Programs focus on topics such as consent, empathy for victims, bystander behaviors, and different perspectives on how sexual assault and rape affects victims and others involved.
Positive changes in terms of altering beliefs, attitudes, and intentions are associated with these prevention programs. Studies indicate male students improved attitudes specifically on rape myths and sexual aggression. However, there is less information that demonstrates behavioral changes.
Sexual Assault Victimization Prevention Efforts
Mostly targeted to women starting college, these programs examine the prevalence of sexual assault, debunk rape myths, discuss stereotypical behaviors, and make practical suggestions for safe dating behavior.
As seen with the perpetration prevention efforts, there were signs of attitude change with little to show in terms of behavioral changes that led to lesser likelihood of victimization. Studies found there was a lower level of risky dating behavior and improvement in sexual communication strategies.
Bystander training is developed for both men and women, as anyone can intervene in sexual assault or rape. These types of programs generally focused on identifying and intervening in potentially risky situations.
Studies show these programs improved rape-related attitudes and there was less comfort with inappropriate behavior. However, no studies support this has prevented or reduced the occurrence of sexual assault.
Sexual violence has serious consequences to students, including physical and emotional health deterioration, alcohol and drug use, and negative academic performance. Within the coming years, we hope to see all victims who make the choice to come forward treated with respect and believed by those responsible to see them through. In terms of prevention efforts, more work can always be done.
If you work with students or anyone else affected by sexual assault, violence, or rape, consider our textbooks in your line of work. For more information on what we do, visit our website or subscribe to our newsletter.